We believe that our "FIVE/ONE" man to man defense neutralizes size and quickness advantages that the offense may have over us. It is a defense that gives us a chance to beat the very best. We believe "The team that executes the best beats the best!"
Perhaps the starting point to the "FIVE/ONE" defense is Defensive Conversion. We want all five players to sprint back on defense. We want to get the defense set. In our offense we send three players to the offensive boards and have two players back for defensive balance. Once the three rebounders see that the opponent has gained possession of the basketball, they sprint back to set up our defense. We do not jam the rebounder or attempt to intercept the outlet pass. We want everyone to sprint back as fast as possible without hesitation.
Defense is a bigger factor in winning basketball than any other area of the game. Second to defense in importance is rebounding. Defensive rebounding is the most frequent way that a team obtains possession of the basketball. If you can force the opponent to shoot a contested shot over the defense and limit them to only one shot per possession you would have an almost unbeatable defense. This is one of the things that the "FIVE/ONE" defense attempts to accomplish. We feel that when two teams of relatively the same strength meet the advantage goes to the team playing the best team defense.
It is extremely important that players know what to do, how to do it and why they do it. Anyone who wants to can play defense. Defense is that part of the game that with a great deal of work can be consistently excellent. However, we want more than consistent defensive play from our players. If you give up a lay-up only one of every five defensive possessions, you are playing consistent defense. If you only give up an offensive rebound one out of every five defensive possessions, you are rebounding defensively consistently. BUT that is not enough!! We want to play perfect defense every defensive possession - ONE DEFENSIVE POSSESSION AT A TIME! We feel that each and every defensive possession is important. EVERY DEFENSIVE POSSESSION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DEFENSIVE POSSESSION OF THE GAME!!!
If a team is sold on defense, if defense has top priority and if the team believes that defense is the most important part of the game, then you are ready to play the game. A good defense, for both the individual and team, instills true confidence. It is not the same kind of confidence that teams that swap baskets have. It is a quiet, sure, feeling that they can win with the team effort required to play good defense. The team realizes that it can rely on the defense even when the offense sputters. It is invaluable when you are playing that "super" team that is suppose to beat you like a drum with their running and shooting.
Good defense also has a carry-over value to other areas of your game, like rebounding, shooting, etc. Good defensive teams have a winning attitude that as a team they can be successful. As Earl Nightingale said, "Successful people do what failures do not like to do." This one quality is reason enough to play good defense and to spend time teaching defense.
We do not use a wide variety of motivational ideas concerning defense. We do not want our players to feel that when they are playing great defense that they are putting forth any type of special effort. You must convince your players that if they work on the defenseive end of the court they will present themselves with an opportunity to win.
Our philosophy both defensively and offensively concentrates on three major areas of learning. We believe the gym is a classroom. These three areas of learning are:
Try to be consistently excellent in what we do.
Believe in what we are teaching.
Teach only what we thoroughly know and do not try to over-teach.
You must be able to maintain defensive discipline the entire game in order to have a strong defense. More importantly you must be able to maintain defensive discipline every defensive possession to have a strong defense. Often a team will have a strong offensive quarter that propels them to victory. This is usually a break-down in the defensive team's mental defensive discipline.
A player can have outstanding defensive ability but without mental discipline to stay focused on defense that player will only be average defensively and will end up hurting his team. We fully expect all of our players to to maintain mental discipline on defense every defensive possession. A player with only average physical ability but with excellent mental defensive discipline can be an outstanding defensive player.
A team defense like "FIVE/ONE", to be effective, must be based on sound principles capable of handling the many varied and complicated situations that will present themselves over the course of the season. Proper technique and execution are given priority over attempting to surprise an opponent with an unorthodox defense. The simplicity of the defensive game plan is designed to insure that all players understand thoroughly the system of defense that is taught. Teamwork is the essence of good "FIVE/ONE" defense. Without teamwork you have no defense. The "FIVE/ONE" consists of the combined efforts of five players, working together as a cohesive unit. The cooperation and help that players give to each other will determine the degree of success the "FIVE/ONE" will have.
The major area in which the coach's influence has a bearing on the outcome of the game is that of the defensive match-up. The advantage that the "FIVE/ONE" defense has when it comes to matching height against height, speed against speed, etc. is undeniable. The coach can match-up his top defender against the opponent's top offensive player, he can match the player who blocks out the best against the opponent's top rebounder, etc.